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Obituary: Carol Jean Gehrke

Our beloved mom, grandmother, and sister, Carol Jean Gehrke (Turnquist), 74, passed away on Saturday, July 6, 2024, after a courageous and hard-fought battle with colon cancer.

Carol was born May 19, 1950 in Superior as the first-born child to Henry and Eleanor Turnquist. Carol was raised in South Range, where she was fortunate enough to live next door to her paternal family. She had many fond memories growing up in the country.

Carol graduated from Superior High School as part of the Class of 1968. One of her special memories from school was playing the recorder with her sister Patricia on a Duluth TV station with songs including “Daisy, Daisy” and “Anchors Away.”

In 1969, she married Charles Gehrke and then gave birth to their first child, Jeffrey, in June 1969. Carol and Charles lived in Superior and Cloquet before settling in Mahtowa.

Carol worked for many years with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety as a data entry clerk in Duluth and later worked for the Carlton County Motor Vehicle Office until her retirement in June 2023.

Mom’s most important job was as a caring and loving mother and grandmother.

Starting in 2008, Carol operated an antique business, “Carol’s Corne,r” with her youngest son, Richard. They operated in several different antique shops around Minnesota, including Father Time Antiques in Duluth. Carol and Richard loved attending estate sales together.

She was also a collector of Hallmark ornaments and a member of the local Hallmark Keepsake Ornament Club, “Frosty Friends.”

Carol was nown for her love of holidays, her Christmas cookies, and strawberry pie. Carol was also a proud member of the Alano Club in Cloquet.

Carol was preceded in death by her parents, Henry Turnquist, Eleanor LaBonte; stepfather, Jerome LaBonte; brother, Paul Turnquist; and her beloved poodle terrier Snowball.

She is survived by her children, Jeffrey Gehrke of Owatonna, Minnesota; Robert Gehrke (Linda Parker) of Solon Springs, Wisconsin; Richard Gehrke of Mahtowa; and Stephanie Gehrke (Cameron Pelkey) of Mora, Minnesota; granddaughters Desiree (Clinton) Schwichtenberg of Janesville, Minnesota, and Rose Gehrke (Kyle Jeno) of Owatonna; great granddaughters, Savannah, Lillianna, and Grace Ann of Janesville; sisters, Patricia (Carey) Mattson of White Bear Lake, Minnesota, Brenda (Timothy) Medd of Oakdale, Minnesota, and Sharon (Steven) Foix of Calumet, Michigan; and several nieces and nephews.

Carol’s family would like to thank the Essentia oncology team for its care, particularly Dr. Peter Kebbekus, along with the care team at St. Croix Hospice.

Donations can be made in Carol’s honor to either the American Cancer Society or to her favorite charity, Second Harvest Northland.

An evening visitation will be held at Nelson Funeral Care in Cloquet, 5-7 p.m. Wednesday, July 10, with sharing of memories at 6:30 p.m. The visitation will continue on Thursday, July 11, 2024, from 10 a.m. until 11 a.m. funeral service, also held at Nelson Funeral Care. A lunch reception will follow in the fellowship room. Interment will be held at 2:30 p.m. at the Parkview Cemetery in Hawthorne, Wisconsin.